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Poster: reviewr Date: Nov 11, 2011 9:03pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: China Doll Applause

After "just a little nervous from the fall" the crowd often goes crazy in the 80's and 90's.

What am I missing? I don't get it.

Is it the lyric? The end of the song? The quality of the performance doesn't seem to matter.

You don't here this in the 70's versions.

Side note:
David Dodd's book says the song was originally called "The Suicide Song". Interesting! I always thought of it as murder.

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Poster: Jobygoob Date: Nov 12, 2011 5:50am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: China Doll Applause

Very interesting question! I often find myself wondering about this kind of thing at concerts even when the answer is obvious, like the inevitable cheer at any line that has to do with drugs, getting drunk, or using profanity. Crowd dynamics is pretty fascinating, most of these people wouldn't stop to piss on you if you were on fire, but let's all get together and let Neil Young know that we approve of him when he "felt like getting high" back in the 1970s.

As for this particular point of China Doll I always thought it was because of the particular loveliness of the harmonizing, which wasn't very common, combined with the recent culmination of the jam section of the song.

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Poster: vapors Date: Nov 12, 2011 9:57am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: China Doll Applause

I’ll speculate with you here and agree that harmonizing and culmination are factors.
For me personally, there is a deep, spiritual level to the lyric - something in common with a fair percentage of Hunter/Garcia compositions. While this significance is partly what makes the GD so dear to me, I know would be unable to spell it out. Possibly another reason why the songs take such hold of us – some life truths or eternal hopes sit veiled within the lyrics... Not something I’m looking to discuss, but it was this affection for Hunter’s lyrics that prompted my retort in a recent thread where it was proposed that Hunter wrote Franklin’s with cocaine use in mind.

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Poster: wisconsindead Date: Nov 12, 2011 9:12am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: China Doll Applause

das da climax brah!

The version from reckoning sends shivers down the spine after those lyrics.

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Poster: gaZeebo Date: Nov 12, 2011 3:07pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: China Doll Applause

This song has always struck me as someone recovering from what they thought was a "fatal blow" only to discover that it wasn't, and they are still alive.

It's about redeption, starting over, dusting yourself off.... classic GD themes.

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Poster: olympiaroad Date: Nov 12, 2011 5:05pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: China Doll Applause

I think it has a lot to do with the rare, together, 3 part harmony they pull off. That and the fact that the version on Reckoning featured a big response from the crowd at that moment and for many of us "Alabama-heads" from the early 80's, that was our live GD template.

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Poster: micah6vs8 Date: Nov 12, 2011 5:44am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: China Doll Applause

I was there during the clapping decade. I have no clue why folks clapped. Maybe that Jerry was done with the vocals? They liked the upcoming la-la-la-la-la-la-la's? On a truly Fozzie Bear evening, no matter how beautiful and otherworldly this song, they were happy he was done singing? Maybe they were happy the China Doll was just fractured and not destroyed?

The lyrics themselves are some of Hunters most complex and with such brevity. The Annotated lyrics gets far out on a limb comparing The Suicide Song to nuclear war and God's reaction to Man following. My take is much more prosaic. There are clearly at least three 'speakers' in the song, with no definitive structural markers indicating who is who. A nice touch that I think works. For example, line one is the narrator. Line two is in call/response form, the bereaved supplicant And the now ghost who committed suicide. Pretty darn economical, and it continues as you go through the rest of the song. The song to me is icy and ethereal. I like it quite a bit.

China Doll

A pistol shot, at five o'clock, the bells of heaven ring,
Tell me what you done it for, no I wont tell you a thing.
Yesterday I begged you before I hit the ground,
All I leave behind me is only what I found.

If you can abide it, let the hurdy-gurdy play,
Stranger ones have come by here before they flew away.
I will not condemn you nor yet would I deny,
I would ask the same of you, but failing, will not die.

Take up your china doll, take up your china doll,
Its only fractured and just a little nervous from the fall.
La-la-la-la-la-la-la.


Here is the Annotated "China Doll". Its been 10 years since they have been updated.

http://artsites.ucsc.edu/GDead/agdl/doll.html

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Poster: Jobygoob Date: Nov 12, 2011 7:07am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: China Doll Applause

"Maybe that Jerry was done with the vocals? They liked the upcoming la-la-la-la-la-la-la's? On a truly Fozzie Bear evening, no matter how beautiful and otherworldly this song, they were happy he was done singing? Maybe they were happy the China Doll was just fractured and not destroyed?"

None of these are even close to correct, as I'm sure you know.

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Poster: ahso Date: Nov 12, 2011 6:58am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: China Doll Applause

> I was there during the clapping decade.
> The lyrics themselves are some of Hunters most complex and with such brevity.

> could you possibly be any more full of yourself?


from the annotated china doll subjective interpretive note http://artsites.ucsc.edu/GDead/agdl/doll.html

A SUBJECTIVE INTERPRETIVE NOTE
This song was originally titled The Suicide Song, and I at first looked at it as a dialog between a suicide and God or Jesus, where the suicide argues in favor of being allowed into heaven even though he/she committed what for Catholics is an unforgivable sin. But then an even more bizarre interpretation dawned on me, and well, you should always go with the bizarre.

I think one way to look at this song is to see it as a commentary on the threat of nuclear war. It imagines the aftermath of The Bomb in much the same way Morning Dew did. In this light, I see the song as a dialog between a Human (representing humankind) and a Creator in the wake of a nuclear holocaust where humans destroy themselves completely. The bombs are dispatched-- "a pistol shot at five o'clock"-- and the resulting holocaust shakes even "the bells of heaven", causing them to ring. The Creator, perhaps in despair of His destroyed work, asks the Human "Tell me what you done it for". The Human refuses to "tell you a thing".

But then the Human points out that he/she had begged the Creator yesterday "before I hit the ground", a plea for mercy that the Creator was unable to give. The Human also consoles the Creator with "all I leave behind me is only what I found", meaning that while mankind and its works are destroyed, the earth will eventually recover and life will go on. The Human then asks "if you can abide it let the hurdy-gurdy play", meaning even though mankind is so flawed as to create the means of its own destruction, let it be born again out of the ashes of its self-destruction. After all, "stranger ones" than we have come and gone in the pageant of the cosmos.

Finally, the Human promises that unlike in the time of Jesus, "I will not condemn you nor yet would I deny", perhaps signaling a promise of a new birth in spirituality among humankind. The Human then asks the Creator to also refrain from condemning or denying its creation just because it is flawed, but assures the Creator that in any case, it "will not die".

In the last part, the Human reassures the Creator that his creation will survive even this self-destruction, that the Creator can "Take up your china doll" (the earth/life), which isn't destroyed but "only fractured, just a little nervous from the fall".

How's that for way over-thinking this song!!!
--Rob Meador

http://www.archive.org/post/345381/and-the-winners-are-83-and-late-70s-forum-tally

http://www.archive.org/post/383651/for-splue

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Poster: micah6vs8 Date: Nov 12, 2011 7:37am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: China Doll Applause

Ah yes, reason #15 why I shouldn't spend a minute more. Thank-you for the reminder.

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Poster: ahso Date: Nov 12, 2011 7:58am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: China Doll Applause

Pathetic!

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Poster: rdenirojb87 Date: Nov 12, 2011 9:01am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: China Doll Applause

people that come out of the woods just to start shit are at the top of the pathetic chain.

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Poster: RBNW....new and improved! Date: Nov 14, 2011 6:49am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: China Doll Applause

did you eat pork that nite or something??